Lahore’ Green Building Bylaws to “Least Livable” Karachi; Infocus Weekly Briefs

by M. Wasim

16 July 2023

Lahore Development Authority incorporates Green Building Regulations

The governing body of the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) has sought advice this week from the law department for incorporating a slew of green initiatives in building regulations for a clean environment. Following the orders of the Lahore High Court in February this year, now the LDA has placed a proposal for approval regarding incorporation of a chapter about corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the building and zoning regulations-2019. The proposal include the recommendations and suggestions for incorporation of the CSR of developers,  commercial entities in the building regulations considering financing to achieve the targets such as plantation, landscaping, beautification of surrounding areas, contribution to curb climate change, parking for schools, hospitals and traffic management plans.

Lahore Building Bylaws Rooftop Gardens

According to the CSR proposal, the the developers or commercial entities shall be liable to play a positive role in the vicinity for improvement of overall environment of the area, like every developer or management of residential apartments or commercial buildings having area of four kanal or above with height of 120 foot and above shall be responsible to ensure beautification of surrounding areas of buffer zone in meters, equal to total height of the building i.e for 120-foot height. In this way, the owner will be responsible for the beautification of 120-meter buffer zone to add to aesthetic appeal to the landscape. Besides, the draft also binds the builders to provide traffic management plan on yearly basis with clear management mechanism which may include concept of valet parking, shared parking, fixation of temporary barriers, cones at peak hours and deployment of dedicated staff for traffic circulation. At the time of approval of building plans, the builder shall submit CSR plans related to the aforementioned components and no building completion certificate will be issued without provision of CSR reports.

Karachi ranked as “Least Livable” City

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has ranked Karachi among the top five “least livable” city in the world. On the EIU`s Global Livability Index 2023, Karachi is ranked 169th out of a total of 173 urban centres. Incidentally, Karachi is the only city in Pakistan ranked on the index. The index focuses on the post-Covid recovery of cities across the world, and rates living conditions based on five categories -including stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure. Most of the top-ranked cities on the index are from Western Europe and Canada. Austrian capital Vienna topped the list for the second year in a row and has a perfect score of 100 on four out of the five indicators.

Karachi; an “Ocean of Concrete” as Bad Urban Planning induces Crimes

The Karachi history on the EIU`s index is not too good. Back in 2019, Karachi was ranked 136 out of 140 cities in the index, while no report was published in 2020. In 2022, it was ranked 134th out of 140 cities. And, this year Karachi has an overall score of 42.5, which is lower than ideal. The metropolitan performed most poorly on the stability indicator, with a score of 20, similar to 2022, implying that the situation has not changed much over the past year. It scored 50 on healthcare,38.7 on culture and environment, 75 on education, and 51.8 on infrastructure. While only Lagos, Algiers, Tripoli and Damascus are ranked lower than Karachi.

Real Estate Ventures near Flying Zone

Construction of high-rises in the vicinity of airports is discouraged globally because they obstruct flights and radar operations as well as pose dangers to those living in buildings close to airports. This is why even in most developed countries multistory buildings are not allowed within 20 kms radius of airports. In Pakistan, however, things are moving in the opposite direction, as multistory, single-story residential buildings, restaurants and wedding halls abound very close to airports. Politicians, real estate developers, airport authorities and administration, are apparently all in cahoots for these violations.

Pakistan Real Estate Development in the wake of Rapid Urbanization

However, things gets a setback this week when following registration of FIR against the DG of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and other officers on the complaint of an influential builder, the CAA issued a hard-hitting press release alleging nexus between the Sindh government, police high-ups and the builder behind such a drastic step against a top bureaucrat of the country. According to news reports the saga is an offshoot of intensification pertaining to an old dispute between the CAA and Saima Builders over ownership of a piece of land near the airport, where the builder constructing the road for its Saima Green Residencia project. The CAA statement in the press release says “The CAA will not allow any illegal occupation of the land belonging to the federal government and take strict legal action against anyone involved”. Till this date, the provincial government and the Sindh police remained tight-lipped over the allegations by CAA.

Pakistan gets Green Climate Fund

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) has announced $66 million in funding to support the government of Pakistan`s efforts to reduce the twin climate impacts of flooding and drought. The investment will improve the resilience of some of the country`s most vulnerable communities affected by the impacts of climate change, including catastrophic flooding. The seven-year project titled “Recharge Pakistan: Building Pakistan`s Resilience to Climate Change through Ecosystem-Based Adaptation for Integrated Flood Risk Management” is the largest investment at the national level to date in an ecosystem-based approach to flood and water resources management.

Pakistan Flood 2022
Pakistan Flood 2022 is a Global Case of Climate Justice

The project a collaboration between the ministry of climate change, the federal flood commission under the ministry of water resources and the World Wide Fund for Nature Pakistan (WWF-P) will demonstrate the effectiveness of ecosystem-based adaptation and green infrastructure as an innovative addition to the nation`s traditional grey infrastructure solutions to flood and drought. This will be achieved through restoration and reforestation of forests and wetlands; rehabilitation of water flow paths and channels; development of recharge basins and retention areas; and strengthening the climate resilience of local businesses in the agriculture and forests sectors. Through ecosystem-based adaptation and nature-based solutions, this collaboration will help restore the basin`s health, enhance resilience, and safeguard the most vulnerable communities. Today, we are one vital step closer to building climate resilience, protecting biodiversity, and securing a sustainable future for Pakistan.

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